“He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” -Psalm 25:9
I wanted to be the best. From an early age, I dedicated time, sweat and many, many hours to excel at wrestling. I knew my talent and leaned heavily on who I was in the wrestling world.
I soon found myself constantly winning. I became a state champion, a two-time national champion, and in 2012 fought my way to the top of the podium at the London Olympics. I had a gold medal around my neck and every success imaginable. What more could I ask for?
All I knew was worldly gold. God and His eternal treasures were nowhere near my desire. I had reached the ultimate human success, yet there was an emptiness nagging at me that wouldn’t go away.
When I attended an FCA camp, I expected to find the athletes excited for me to be there showing them wrestling techniques. They were appreciative, but the fire in their hearts really kindled as they worshipped Jesus. Kids were absolutely sold-out for Christ. What was I missing?
Their love for Jesus humbled me. Here I was, giving everything I had to the sport of wrestling as my life, while these young athletes set their hearts on an award that won’t tarnish. I wanted to live that life and know Christ completely.
I came home from camp with a new outlook on life. There’s no other thing in life that’s more fulfilling than a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s more than just wrestling, training, winning or even gold medals. I come and go. Wrestling fades. Jesus is for life.
I have become a great wrestler by understanding that I still have room to grow. It is no different than our faith. Each day we have an opportunity to become closer to God, to glorify Him and make Him proud. Humility is the true secret to becoming a champion.
I’ve gained the greatest accomplishment in athletics—Olympic gold—but Jesus, the true Victor, came to earth and walked humbly, seeking the Father in everything. He overcame the cross so we have confidence not in our own abilities, but Him and Him alone.
It’s good to put in the work it takes to do well in your sport, but don’t let it be the sole focus of who you are. Let your heart rest in Jesus and all He’s done on your behalf. Worldly treasures will fade, and chasing after pleasure won’t fill us. We will always feel emptiness unless we have oneness with the Savior. Let’s be victorious and humbly follow after Christ’s example to be the best we can as an offering to Him.
- Where have you been tempted to boast in yourself instead of Christ?
- What does true humility look like to you?
- How can you give God glory in your training and life?
Psalm 25:9, James 4:6, Proverbs 22:4, Romans 12:3
Father, forgive me for going after the things that have no lasting impact. Thank You for seeking me out and loving me when I’m misguided, and for showing me how to live in true humility. Let me lift my training and life as worship to you. Amen.